Pakistan Media Monitor – September 2023


A monthly report on trends relating to state of journalism and media rights, policies and practices


Media related laws, policies and regulations

The state of media professionalisms

The state of media economy

Threats and attacks against journalists and information practitioners

Vol. 3, No. 9 September 2023 Edition

Produced by Freedom Network –

SECTION 1: Media related laws, policies, regulations, mechanisms

  • Freedom of expression (FOE)
  • Right to information (RTI), access to information (ATI)
  • Federal and provincial governments (relevant ministries and departments)
  • Media related regulators (PPC, PEMRA, PTA)
  • Regulatory issues related to print, electronic and digital media

Contender for print media regulator slot moves IHC over president’s inaction

Date: September 8, 2023 – Source: Dawn

A petition filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) claimed President Arif Alvi, in violation of the prime minister’s advice, had withheld a summary for the appointment of a regulator for print media, a position that has been vacant since 2019.

Supreme Court to decide if it comes under RTI law

Date: September 26, 2023 – Source: The News

Chief Justice (CJ) Qazi Faez Isa fixed for hearing an appeal which is related to the Right to Information (RTI) request sent to the Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) filed more than four years ago – still unanswered.

SECTION 2: The state of media professionalisms

  • Media independence issues
  • Public interest journalism practices and challenges
  • Ethical journalism issues
  • The state of thematic journalism
  • Community-focused media
  • Misinformation / disinformation / fake news

Cruel dramas

Date: September 1, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The storyline is old but its insensitivity is impossible to ignore. Pakistan’s entertainment industry has, for long, used crimes against women as provocative ploys to spice up dramas. Therefore, we find ourselves hailing a ban to protect victims and crush the depiction of rape culture.

A sorry incident

Date: September 3, 2023 – Source: Dawn

Pakistan’s drama industry needs to own up to its failings. Content creators and directors need to read literature on how fictionalized rape scenes impact survivors and audiences. While rape can be used to make a point about the Pakistani society, it is time now to close the lid on rape as a cinematic subject.

President, Prime Minister stress newspaper readership

Date: September 24, 2023 – Source: Dawn

President Dr Arif Alvi and caretaker Prime Minister Anwarul Haq Kakar asserted the importance of newspapers through a press release on the occasion of National Newspaper Readership Day.

SECTION 3: The state of media economy

  • Economic landscape of media industry
  • Impact of Covid-19 on media resilience and sustainability
  • Government and private advertising for media industry
  • Advertising sector and its interface with media industry
  • Business viability and sustainability of media
  • Wages, salaries and arrears of journalists and media practitioners 

Senate body discusses media issues, utilization of Radio Pakistan land

Date: September 7, 2023 – Source: The News

The Senate Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting discussed a range of media-related issues including efficient utilization of land and assets owned by Radio Pakistan (RP).

SECTION 4: Threats and attacks against media and information practitioners, including online

  • Murders and killings
  • Kidnappings and abductions
  • Arrests and detentions
  • Threats – verbal and written
  • Harassment and intimidation – offline and online
  • Surveillance, hacking and data breaches
  • Legal cases for journalism-related work or free speech
  • Impunity of crimes against journalists
  • Censorship

Punjab Drama Act

Date: September 2, 2023 – Source: Dawn

It is concerning how a caretaker government, which only has a constitutional mandate to ensure transition of power between elected governments, can claim it is amending legislation to prohibit live dance performances altogether and increase penalties in the law.

Punjab government sends PEMRA-verified evidence against PTI leaders to FIA

Date: September 2, 2023 – Source: The News

The Punjab government sent the evidence of involvement of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leaders in the May 9 incidents to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after getting it verified by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA).

Chief Justice gives last chance to police for recovery of missing anchorperson

Date: September 21, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today

Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti gave Inspector General of Police (IGP) Usman Anwar a ‘last chance’ to recover anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan, who has been missing since five months.

Court shelves journalist’s murder trial

Date: September 21, 2023 – Source: Dawn

The judicial magistrate of Islamabad shelved the murder case of journalist Arshad Sharif since no prosecution witness had attended the trial proceedings so far despite the judge ordering witnesses to record their statements.

Television reporter beaten up for filming power theft in Sukkur

Date: September 21, 2023 – Source: Dawn

A reporter of a private Sindhi television channel was held hostage and subjected to severe torture by a group of villagers when he was covering a story about theft of electricity in Mohammad Thaheem village in Sukkur district.

Journalist arrested for spreading ‘anti-state’ narrative, remanded in FIA custody

Date: September 23, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: Pakistan Observer (PO)

The district and sessions court remanded Islamabad-based journalist Khalid Jamil in the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over the charges of spreading ‘provocative narrative’ against the state institutions through social media platforms.

Journalist given to Federal Investigation Agency on two-day remand

Date: September 23, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: The Nation

A judicial magistrate of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) handed over the custody of journalist Mohammad Khalid Jamil to the FIA on a two-day physical remand. Jamil is charged under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) for maligning state institutions and the judiciary.

Missing anchorperson returns home ‘safely’

Date: September 25, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Express Tribune, Source 3: Al Jazeera

Punjab Inspector-General (IG) Dr Usman Anwar confirmed that anchorperson Imran Riaz Khan – who had been missing for more than four months – had returned home ‘safely’. He was arrested by unidentified individuals two days after violent protests erupted across Pakistan on May 9.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM takes notice of jirga’s decision to demolish journalist’s house

Date: September 26, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Caretaker Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Azam Khan directed police authorities to provide protection to journalist Miraj Khalid and his family after a local jirga ordered the demolition of his house in South Waziristan’s Warsak region.

Police protection provided to ‘expelled’ journalist

Date: September 27, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Commissioner Zafarul Islam Khattak said that police have been deployed to guard the house of journalist Miraj Khalid in Wana after he was ‘expelled’ from the South Waziristan region by a local jirga.

FIA asked to submit record of jailed journalist’s social media posts

Date: September 28, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Special Court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) directed the prosecution to submit the record related to posts on X of jailed journalist Khalid Jamil and adjourned the hearing on his bail plea.

RSF, allies ask political parties to protect press freedom in Pakistan

Date: September 28, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

As the situation of journalists worsens in the run-up to the general elections, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and several defenders of journalism launched an appeal to the Pakistani political parties involved in the election campaign to commit to concrete measures in favor of press freedom.

Court moved against ban on PTI chief’s speeches

Date: September 29, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued notices to the federal government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) in response to a petition challenging the ban on broadcast of speeches by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan.

Freedom for the media

Date: September 29, 2023 – Source: Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan ranks 150 out of 180 countries in the 2023 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Press Freedom Index (PFI). Even though the country moved up seven spaces compares to the previous year, the space for media freedom in Pakistan keeps shrinking and ‘red lines’ keep changing.

Islamabad court grants bail to journalist in ‘provocative’ social media posts case

Date: September 29, 2023 – Source 1: Dawn, Source 2: Pakistan Today

A special court in Islamabad granted bail to journalist Khalid Jamil who was arrested on charges of spreading a ‘provocative narrative’ against state institutions through social media posts.

OBJECTIVES: This series of monthly report aims to:

  • Monitor the state of policies, regulations and mechanisms governing the media sector in Pakistan; the state of freedom of expression and right to information environment in the country and how these interfaces with media freedoms allowed or restricted via media regulations governed by the print, electronic and internet regulators.
  • Track the state of media professionalisms in the country including ethical and public interest journalism practices and challenges, and the challenges of misinformation, disinformation and fake news phenomena.
  • Follow the changing economic dynamics of the media industry and how they impact the business viability and sustainability of media and exploitation of media staff in lieu of their wages and arrears.
  • Scrutinize threats and attacks against media and information practitioners, the state of impunity of crimes against journalists and efforts to provide justice for those aggrieved and distressed.

INFORMATION SOURCES: This report monitors, among others, the following sources of information: 

  • Government: Federal and provincial cabinets
  • Ministries: Related ministries, including Information and Broadcasting, Information Technology (IT) and Telecom, Human Rights, Science and Technology, Commerce and Industry, etc.
  • Legislatures: Senate, National Assembly, provincial assemblies, relevant standing committees 
  • Regulators: Pakistan telecommunications Authority (PTA), Pakistan Electronic Media regulatory Authority (PEMRA), Press Council of Pakistan (PPC), State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), etc.
  • Global organizations: UN/Unesco, International Media Support (IMS), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Amnesty International (AI), Human Rights Watch (HRW), etc.
  • National organizations: Digital Rights Foundation (DRF), BoloBhi, Media Matters for Democracy (MMFD), Institute for Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA), Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), etc.
  • Media: Dawn, The News, Express Tribune, The Nation, Pakistan Today, The Friday Times, etc.
  • Social Media:Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  • Local networks: Journalists Safety Hubs Network, Alliance on Diversity & Pluralism in Media, etc.
  • Any other open public information sources.  

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